With temperatures on the rise, it’s more important than ever to understand the impact hot weather can have on your mental health. Your medication effects, your sleep, and your routine can all be disrupted by hot weather.
If you’re taking medication for your mental health – especially if you’re taking antipsychotics – it’s important to be aware that most antipsychotic medication impairs the body’s ability to regulate temperature, meaning that you can over-heat more quickly than someone who isn’t taking medication. It’s a good idea to check out the side effects of your medication – you can find this information in the leaflet in the box, or online.
Medications such as Sertraline, Citalopram and Fluoxetine can also affect how much you sweat -making you sweat more in hot temperatures. It’s therefore vital that you’re drinking enough to replace the lost fluids.
By being aware that your medication impacts how you respond to hotter temperatures mean you
can take steps to avoid it.
Heat exhaustion can affect anyone, but people taking psychiatric medication are more at risk. If you know someone who is at risk of heat exhaustion, it’s also worth knowing the signs and what to do.
Signs to look out for are:
- dizziness and confusion
- loss of appetite
- excessive sweating
- fast breathing
- a high temperature of 38C or above
- being very thirsty
If you or someone else is experiencing heat exhaustion, the most important thing is to cool down.
- Move to a cool place indoors or in the shade.
- Lie down and raise your feet slightly.
- Drink plenty of water. Sports or rehydration drinks are OK.
- Cool your skin with water or cool packs.
You can take steps to prevent heat exhaustion by avoiding direct sunlight, especially during the hours of 11am and 3pm when temperatures are at their peak. Drink lots of water and try and avoid alcohol as this can make you more dehydrated.
Lack of sleep can be a trigger for many mental health conditions, especially bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety disorders. It can be much harder to get good quality sleep in hot weather. As well as the heat, hot weather can disrupt our normal routines which can make it more difficult to wind down.
- If you’re living with a mental health issue, it’s important to prioritise rest. In hot weather, here are
some things to try:
- Keep your windows and blinds shut in the daytime will keep hot air out of your room.
- Open the windows are night to try to get a flow of air through the room you’re sleeping in.
- You can fill a hot water bottle with cool water, freeze it and take it to bed in order to cool
- Instead of sleeping with a duvet, try sleeping in a light sheet.
Hot weather can make us all grumpy and short-tempered. It can be difficult to think straight when you’re hot and sweaty. If you’re finding that you’re being more snappy, irritable, or angrier than usual, maybe try some self-care techniques that work for you to help. If your mood is deteriorating badly and you are experiencing suicidal feelings, then it’s important to get urgent help.
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